The chiefs and people of Agona Swedru in the Central Region have climaxed this year’s Akwambo Festival with a grand durbar that attracted political figures and personalities from other spheres of life.
Akwambo — literally translated path-clearing — is observed as a festival that commemorates the journey and arrival of the founding settlers of the four towns of Gyinankoma, Ekrawfo, Atakwaa and Otabenadze.
It is usually celebrated in August to remind the present generation of how their ancestors migrated from the ancient town of Efutuobir in 1730 under Nana Gyan Kodwo to Agona Swedru.
A month to the week-long event, there is a ban on noise-making and burying of the dead, and within the week of the celebration, the paths that lead to the traditional dwelling places and ancient palaces are cleared to usher in the celebration of the festival.
Dubbed “Accountable community and people development; the role of government, traditional rulers, parents and the clergy”, this year’s celebration was also to raise funds for the construction of modern Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre for the town.
The durbar to climax the celebration was preceded by a procession of the chiefs and queen mothers — clad in colourful Kente cloths and adorned with gold ornaments — in palanquins along with the people from far and near to the Swedru main lorry park after a parade through the principal streets.
There was also the firing of musket and cultural display led by the various asafo groups, with the famous Swedru Brass Band providing music of the procession.
At last Saturday’s grand durbar, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, urged the communities to strive to maintain festivals, not just as means of preserving history and promoting the culture of the people, but also to help boost the tourism sector of Ghana.
She said communities should use festivals as an annual homecoming event for their indigenes and their accompanying guests to promote the ideals and culture of those communities and become a means of mobilising funds to develop the area to help the tourism sector reap full benefit.
Mrs Oteng-Gyasi, who is also the new Patriotic Party (npp) Member of Parliament for Prestea Huni-Valley Constituency, said the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, recognised the importance of celebrating festivals because it was not just a way of preserving the rich culture or telling the story of a people, but “also the financial gains such celebrations add to the economy and the tourismsector.
“Ghana can derive a lot of benefits from the tourism sector if particularly, tourists’ sites are fully developed to attract patrons from both home and abroad.
If the sector is well developed, it would create a lot of jobs for many people in the tourism industry,” she said.
The Chief of Agona Swedru, Ogidigram Okrupi Nana Kobina Asiedu Botwe II, decried the poor state of roads in the town which he said did not meet the status of the Swedru township.
He called on politicians to be truthful to the citizens at all times and ensure that promises made to citizenry were fulfilled.
Swedru Akora drainage project
The NPP Member of Parliament for Agona West, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, disclosed that work would soon resume on the Swedru Akora drainage project which had stalled for some years to ensure the completion of the project, which was expected to address the perennial flooding in the town.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pentax Management Consultancy Services Limited, Mr Bernard Joe Appeah, who chaired the function, charged the planning committee to ensure that funds raised were used for the intended purpose.